O is for Oven Mitt
Okay, an oven mitt isn’t really a kitchen utensil. But the options for “O” are pretty limited. My other choices were “opener” (as in can opener, so kind of a cheat), and “oven.” Since oven mitts are purchased more often than ovens, the choice seemed obvious.
An oven mitt is an insulated glove used to handle hot objects, specificically pans and bakeware straight out of the the oven. Related to the oven mitt is the pot holder, which is typically made of similar material but in the shape of a flat square.
Origins of the Oven Mitt
While the term mitt refers to a mitten, from which it gets it’s shape, the oven mitt was ironically invented by a man named Earl Mitt in the 1870’s. Earl was a baker and burnt himself badly grabbing a hot pan. To prevent similar injuries in the future, he created a glove made of wool and shoe leather.
Styles of Oven Mitts
There really is only one style of oven mitt. It is a large, over-sized mitten made of insulated materials. They are ambidextrous, although some mitts can have an image on one side. These are usually sold in pairs, although oven mitts in general are often sold individually. Some newer oven mitts use silicon instead of wool for the exterior. I’ve never tried one of these, but personally I’d be leary of trying to grab hot objects with a non-stick surface.
Recommendations for an Oven Mitt
Look for an oven mitt that is thicker. Thin ones don’t insulate as well and you will feel the heat through the mitt. Avoid the holiday themed ones from Walmart unless they will be for decoration only. Those things are so thin that I have burned myself through the oven mitt! A decent pair should run you in the neighborhood of $10. Anything more and you are paying for decoration. Less than $5 for a pair and they are scrimping on insulation.
Also take care of washing instructions. Some will state that they cannot be washed. Anyone who spends any time in the kitchen is going to get their stuff dirty and need to wash it. Buying something that is unwashable is just a waste of money.
One oven mitt I would recommend is the Terry Oven Mitts Commercial Grade 2-Pack Color Cream (affiliate link). These are thicker then usual and have no bad reviews for thermal protection.